OLD Media Moves

Frantic TV coverage of business news

October 4, 2008

Joanna Weiss of the Boston Globe takes a look at how television has covered the current Wall Street and economy crisis.

Fox Business NetworkWeiss writes, “But one thing became clear amid the breathless, wall-to-wall financial coverage: business news isn’t regular news. Watching a financial crisis play out on TV isn’t the same as watching an anchor in a slicker getting buffeted by high winds. Because in this case, the anchor can affect the direction of the storm. Or speak in a language you may not understand. Or get so caught in the market’s momentum that it’s hard to tell political analysis from panic.

“Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart has made great fun of anchors and reporters who struggled to explain the crisis to the common man: He scoffed when CNN declared that $700 billion would buy each American 2,000 McDonald’s apple pies. It was hardly the only oversimplified analogy to hit the airwaves; on the CBS ‘Early Show’ last week, financial correspondent Vera Gibbons set up a row of giant dominoes with labels like ‘Credit Crunch,’ ‘Home Values,’ and ‘Panic,’ then proceeded to knock them down. ‘That’s depressing,’ was the commentary from host Julie Chen.

“If the networks reduced things to kindergarten level, the cable business networks often had the opposite effect. Between the technical jargon, stock tickers and crawls, and as many talking heads as could be crammed into one screen (the top count appeared to be eight), a fairly straightforward credit crisis came across as something that requires an MBA to understand, and a jug of Pepto-Bismol to survive.”

Read more here.

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